By Clive Bernath: Former two weight world champion Ricky Hatton has finally realized that having to shift a third of his body weight during the build up to a fight is not exactly the ideal preparation. It may have taken the ‘Hitman’ more than 15 years to work out but at least now he has officially gone on record to admit his lifestyle between fights was far from ideal.
The 34 year old returns to the ring after an exodus of 3 1/5 years on November 24 when he faces an extremely tough opponent in the shape of former WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko,32-1-(21),at the MEN Arena in Manchester.
Hatton, 45-2-(32), always had a reputation for blowing up in weight between fights by drinking and partying too much but that was nothing compared to the drink and drug binges he went on after being frighteningly knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in his last fight on May 2, 2009
Speaking to the Daily Mail a remarkably honest and open Hatton said: “This is a permanent lifestyle change. I know that if I’m going to get all the way back to winning world titles I can’t blow up to 15 stones (210 lbs.) between fights and then train like crazy and crash diet to get the weight off.
"My body won’t take that any more. But I also know that the drink and everything else was killing me. The depression which followed not only that defeat by Pacquiao but all the bingeing took me to the brink of suicide. That won’t happen again. At 34 I’ve got my life under control.”
First and foremost it is excellent news that arguably Britain’s most popular boxer finally has his demons under control and can look ahead to a healthy and happy future. As far as the boxing is concerned has Hatton wised up too late? To his credit Ricky has picked a very tough fight to return with. He could have been forgiven for taking a soft option to ease his way back but no he insisted that he wanted to return against a world class opponent. I just fear what the 3 years out of the ring and the years of self indulgence will have on his ability to do himself justice in the ring.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Only those closest to him will know if Ricky still has what it takes to reestablish himself at world class level. They will have seen him up close in training and sparring sessions. If he can’t compete at the level required they must tell him. The last thing his fans want to see is a shadow of the former ‘Hitman’.
October 23, 2012